Tuesday, January 31, 2012


One of my friends brought her daughter to Alyssa’s birthday party a few weeks ago. This woman and I met through our girls, when J and Alyssa were in kindergarten. B and I hit it off pretty quickly and easily. We sort of bonded over having two daughters of similar ages. When we realized that both of our younger daughters had special needs, that sort of cinched the friendship.

While at the party, we were talking about special needs and all it entails. B explained to one of the other parents there what she deals with when it comes to her girls. Both of whom have been diagnosed with issues in the past couple of years.

This gentleman went home and talked to his wife about what he and B had discussed.

Over the weekend, the wife called me, wanting B’s name and number. It seems her daughter, not the child who attended the party, but a younger sibling, has issues too and she needs help in finding someone who can actually diagnose these problems.

I Facebooked B and asked her if I could give this poor woman her name and number so they can talk.

B is wonderful. She agree immediately, asking for the woman’s email so she can jump start the help process.

I love that I was able to bring these two together, to help a frustrated, tired mother as she struggles to help her daughter. I love that B is so willing to reach out and share her own story of her struggles so that perhaps someone else might not have to struggle as hard and as long as she did.

We live in a scary world where there are a lot of bad people. But this instance reminds me that there are so many more good people out there than bad.

We’re all just looking for a little help, a little advice, a little sign that we’re not alone as we fight for our rights, our kids’ rights, for answers to problems we know are there even when doctor after doctor after doctor insists that we’re wrong, there are no problems, that we’re making more out of what’s really going on.

Being able to make the world a little smaller, a little less scary is so important. I’m so glad that this time, I was able to do my part.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Delicious Dinner

I made chili for dinner last night, something I hadn’t yet done this winter.

Olivia ate two bowls, asking me every few bites, “Mommy? Did you make us a delicious dinner?”

I would smile and ask her if she thought it was delicious.

She’d nod, very serious and then take another couple of bites.

Alyssa ate Spaghetti-Ohs, by the way. Ugh! I informed her last night that I am this close to not being willing to make a separate meal for her. I’m so tired of it. She bowed her head and said, “Sorry, Mommy.”

But she’s not. Not really. Because she’s getting her way. She never has to try anything new and she gets to eat her few favorites each night for dinner.

I think the new rule is that she has to try whatever I’d made. One bite, that’s it. And then we’ll discuss what she’ll have instead (that she fixes) if she doesn’t like it.

But you know? I realize this isn’t Alyssa’s fault. It’s our fault for letting her get away with it for so long. What nine year old isn’t going to eat mac & cheese, hot dogs and spaghetti-Ohs at every dinner if their parents let them?

So for her own good, this has to change.

Olivia, on the other hand, has never been a picky eater. She loves to eat and she loves variety. I was awed by the fact that she was saying what she was to me last night, asking me if I’d made us a delicious dinner. She isn’t supposed to speak this well, this clearly. And yet she does. Of course, her teachers only know this because I happen to go to the school every so often and she talks to me when I’m there but they do know and they’re working on figuring out how to get her to talk to them the way she talks to me.

I’m trying to be positive today. Trying to soak up the little bit of sun that is shining in the windows at my back. Trying not to dwell on the irritants that haunted me last night.

Orville is doing well. He’s gained twelve ounces in the last week. That’s pretty good, I think for a four pound kitten. Alyssa adores him and he seems to like being cradled in her arms too.

Every day something good can be found if we look hard enough. It’s tough, though, that sometimes we have to stop and shuffle out the rough stuff in order to find the good. But it’s there. It is.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I was such a bitch this morning. I couldn't even pinpoint why. Everything just irrited me so very, very much. The fact that both girls kept asking me "What?" after I said something, over and over again was a major annoyance.

It didn't help that Tom came up at 6am to tell me that it had snowed and the wind had blown enough to cancel our trip to Indianapolis where we were scheduled to attend the Butler University Dance Marathon. And as he was talking to me, in a freaking NORMAL volume instead of a quiet, bedroom voice, BOTH of his daughters woke up.

He had the grace to murmur, "Sorry." But it was too late, Olivia sat up, all bright eyed and bushy tailed.

And why was he up there? Not necessarily because we weren't going anywhere, no, he was up there to tell me that he WAS going somewhere, oh and by the way, I have two packages that need to go the post office, thankyouverymuch, which meant that since the girls were awake I had to be awake.

I hate waking up at 6am on a Saturday morning.

So the morning started out ugly and went downhill from there. Every little thing was an irritant.

So...while in at the post office, a mere four miles away, we stopped in at the outrageously over-priced grocery store to buy some milk, orange juice, bread and a few other necessities.

I also picked up some Dr. Pepper. Somehow, I knew that a little caffeine would improve my mood greatly.

And it did. I know...I'm terrible. It's awful how sensitive I am to caffeine. I don't usually indulge. But every so often on the weekends, I'll have a frozen Coke from Burger King, or a fountain Coke from McD's. And ohh, the sweet, sweet calm that comes with a hit of caffeine.

I sound like a freaking addict. And I guess I am. By Tuesday, after a couple of days sans caffeine, I have a raging headache that needs to be dosed with a couple of Excedrine, which honestly, is Coke in pill form, right?

You'd think I'd learn. But no. Today that Dr. Pepper was just so lovely. I'll probably finish off the bottle tomorrow and by Tuesday, be back to the Excedrine bottle, trying to get rid of the headache and bad mood.

At least Excedrine is very low calorie.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Six Months In

Back in August, on Olivia’s first few days of school, I was an emotional mess. I even cried at work on the first day that O got on the bus to go to school.

I was so worried about her. She was so little. She was so delicate. She was my baaaayyyybeeeee.

Today? Ehh, it’s all good.

Seriously, though, she’s doing really well. She’s been back at school since the Christmas break and has not worn a Pull Up once. She’s had two accidents in three weeks. That’s pretty awesome, right?

Once upon a time I was that mom who dreaded waking her sweet girls up in the mornings. It was so hard to disturb those little cherubs.

Now? I’m lucky if I wake up before Olivia most days so that’s not an issue. At nine years old, Alyssa doesn’t present quite the angelic picture she once did, even asleep. I get up, I do my thing, I turn on the light for A and she gets up about five minutes later. No fuss, no stress.

I wish I could say that all aspects of parenting get easier with time. I’m not sure easier is the right word. Different is better. Things change, some things get easier and other things, harder things, crop up.

We roll with the punches, we celebrate the good stuff and try to let the less than good stuff flitter away like the dust bunnies Orville likes the chase around the kitchen.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


A comment on one of my recent posts got me to thinking. By the way, thank you to everyone who has ever commented. I appreciate it more than I can say. I’ve never been offended by any of the comments I’ve received so far and I’ve more often than not learned something (thanks, Lauren.)

This comment didn’t offend me either but it did make me think.

The actual thought I had was, “I’m not depressed. I’m annoyed.”

Which…huh. Okay. I don’t think I’ve ever really been depressed. Yes, I get down. Yes, I have my moments of less than pleasantness. But actual depression? I don’t think so.

My mood on Sunday wasn’t so much about depression as it was about annoyance. See, my understanding is that depression comes from inside. Is that right? Isn’t depression a chemical issue in the brain?

I can actually pinpoint the things that were bothering me and they were coming from my environment, my world, from outside my head. I was worried sick about Orville, who very obviously had a bad cold. I felt an enormous amount of guilt over even getting that kitten because once he was home I saw how much Tom hated the idea of an indoor pet. I felt like I’d made everyone miserable in my attempt to do something great and fun for our family. It all came to a head that morning when I didn’t get nearly as much sleep as I needed.

I tried to ignore it. I tried to go about the morning, putting dishes away, cleaning bedrooms, etc. But then he asked what was wrong. And the dam broke. I think that if Tom had just walked away and let me be sad that day, things would have been fine. I’d have gotten over it.

But no. I spewed my annoyances and he got the brunt of it. In the end it was probably good that I let it out even if he didn’t appreciate most of what I had to say. The best thing that came out of it all was that Tom took Orville to the vet on Monday and came home with a prescription for antibiotics and the sweet kitty is happy and frisky again. And Tom is very, very good at giving kittens medicine. He also insists on playing with Orville after the medicine has been administered so that Orville will learn that Tom’s not being mean to him or trying to hurt him when he gives him the medicine.

All this is to say that yes, I get seriously annoyed more often than I’d like but I truly don’t think I suffer from depression. I also don’t think that my husband is evil. He’s a good man who means well even if he does have a stubborn streak a mile wide. Huh…that explains where the girls get it…

None of this is to say that I think depression is something to be ashamed of. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be engulfed by the hopelessness that depression can bring. I think the societal stigma of depression is horrible and hope we can all work together to change that. But, alas, I don’t think I have the right to claim depression as my problem. No. Sometimes, I’m just a grouchy bitch.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Posting for the sake of posting seems silly. I mean, who cares if I miss a day here or there if there’s actually nothing to say?

Last night was tough. Alyssa seems to have entered a belligerent stage. She’s fine at school, where routines and rules keep her well in hand but at home? Life is kind of hard.

I pick the girls up at my mom’s each evening. I get there at 5:00 and by 5:30, I’m ready to go. Last night, Alyssa sat down at 5:29 to start her homework. Seriously? I asked her. She looked at me like I was being unreasonable for being annoyed that she’d done such a thing. Then, she continued with the damned homework, as if nothing I said meant a thing.

Once we got home, she spent some time with Orville, which is good. He needs and deserves attention.

But then dinner was a disaster. She’s the queen of dilly dallying. It takes her for freaking ever to eat a meal. I finally got up and went about cleaning the kitchen because sitting there watching her was pissing me off.

This morning was more of the same. She took forever eating her breakfast and then complained when everyone left the room. I told her if she’d just eat her damned food, she wouldn’t be the last one eating and be left alone.

Natural consequences and all that, right? She often thinks we’re just being mean to her. Which frustrated both me and Tom.

We got a letter from my step-daughter last week. In it, she went on and on about how much she hated the place she was staying, how badly she wanted to punch some of the girls there in the face, how the people in charge would let her do anything. She sounded like a petulant fifteen year old. J will be 25 in March.

I don’t want Alyssa to grow up thinking the world owes her. I don’t want her to grow up believing that good things should be handed to her just because she is. I want her to know that hard work and determination can get her far but that she has to work for the things she wants. I want her to know that the decisions she makes and the actions she takes have consequences.

I’m not saying that I think bad parenting made J the way she is. No. But I do think that we have some say in who are kids are and who they will become. And nine is definitely not too early to start learning some of these lessons.

So if an older, wiser Alyssa ever reads this, I want her to know that I love her with everything I have and her dad and I are doing the things we do in an effort to prepare her for the real world, the world that doesn’t care if she’s the sweetest girl in the world, it doesn’t care if she wanted to watch Fetch instead of practicing her multiplication tables, it doesn’t care if she wanted something from the store. If she works hard and earns privileges this world can be a kind place. If not, the world can be cruel and hard and sad. Just ask J.

I know that it’s hard to be a kid but it’s even harder to be an adult who feels they’re entitled to the good life without wanting/being willing to do the work to get to that life.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Shake It Up

I think I’m going to paint our coat closet lime green. Or maybe some other unexpected color. I need to shake things up.

January is such a dreary month. The weather is horrible, the cold permeates into the very marrow of your bones. The sun is so weak and only rises for a short time each day.

I know the idea of painting the closets in my house a wild and fun color is probably tame to some but for me, it would provide just the little bit of fun that I feel like I need right now.

Tom will hate it. But I won’t ask him, will I? And it’s just the closet (and pantry and master closet…)

It’s these little things, the little moments of color and brightness that will get us through these dark, cold months. I need a reminder that June is coming, warmth and sunshine and days at the pool.

And while I wait, I’ll continue to read to Olivia each night, tuck Alyssa in with a kiss and a hug, feed my family daily and trudge through these long winter days. I’ll keep playing tooth fairy as long as those girls keep losing teeth (just A for now but I’m sure O is on the verge of all the fun) and I’ll feed the cat and clean out his litter box.

I’ll also keep smiling at my husband, the man who didn’t want a kitten but who took that very kitten to the vet yesterday, paid for the appointment, learned to give him medicine and now takes better care of him than I ever could. I’ll keep kissing him good morning and good night and reaching out to him, holding him close on those dark, cold nights.

And I’ll enjoy that lime green closet each time I reach in to hang up a coat. Because it will remind me of my own tenacity, my own need to make things brighter for myself and those around me.

I’m good at this. That’s something I don’t say often enough to myself. But I am. I’m good at being a mother to A and O. I’m good at being Tom’s wife. I am good at this. And that thought right there will get me through the darkest of days.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Team Player

Every weekday morning, I start the day running. I started to say that Tom and I start the day running but then realized that since he’s up at least an hour before I am each morning, I don’t know that he feels like he starts out running. He gets up early to exercise. I sort of hate him for that. Except, I know it makes him feel better and I don’t so much hate him as I’m jealous that he’s motivated enough to do so.

I’m not. Motivated to exercise, that is. I’m just not. It makes me cranky to even think about giving up an hour of sleep to do something I don’t enjoy. At all.

But my distaste for exercise isn’t the point of this. What is the point, you ask?

Well, the point is that I hit the floor running, gathering the clothes I lay out each weekend for each of the girls and for myself. I ask O if she wants to take a bath. If so, I turn on the water to fill the tub. If not, I leave her baking in front of the space heater and start the shower running. Did you know it take freaking forever for hot water to run through the pipes in the basement up to an upstairs shower? Yes, yes, forever!

Anyway, after my shower, I go tell Alyssa that it’s time to get up. I’m mean, I turn on the light in her room because the light will get her out of bed faster than just telling her to wake up.

By the time we’re all three dressed, it’s almost seven so we pad down the stairs to greet the great exercising Daddy.

He puts down his hand weights (but continues to wear the weights around his ankles) and joins us in the kitchen where I’ve started packing Alyssa’s lunch. He asks each girl what she wants for breakfast and starts the process of feeding our children.

After A’s lunch is finished, I head back upstairs to dry my hair and I hear Tom and the girls finishing breakfast and starting the process of cleaning teeth and brushing hair. Oh the fun. I do take over the hair part of the work if either A or O wants more than just a brushing. And now that she’s nine, Alyssa does brush her own hair. Sometimes not all that well, but she’s at least attempting to untangle the rats that congregate on the back of her head.
I leave for work about five minutes before the bus pulls up in front of the house so Tom’s got that job too.

I’m grateful for him. I don’t know if I say that often enough.

Even when I’m unhappy, it’s not because of him. He makes my life better in so many ways and I know I don’t tell him that often enough.

Instead, he’s greeted on a Sunday morning by tears and sadness that wasn’t about him but that didn’t make it easier for him to take.

I don’t know how the spouse of a person with chronic depression handles the day to day issues that must come up. But I do know that my husband doesn’t appreciate my less than happy moods. Granted, he doesn’t have to face them very often. I’d like to think I’m usually a fairly upbeat person but when I am down, he takes it personally.

Which frustrates me to no end because, duh, when I’m not happy, I don’t want to have to try and salve someone else’s feelings. I don’t have it in me at that moment to make him feel better.

And there’s the problem. I feel put upon to set aside my own sadness, my own feelings of inadequacy because those very feelings have made someone else feel bad.

It’s tough.

But then, marriage is tough and yet we keep fighting for it because in the end, I have to believe it’s worth the fight. The teamwork, the fact that I have him on my side is worth it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Perfect Storm

It started out just being tired. Wanting one morning where I don't wake up to an elbow in my chest and a chin being rammed into my shoulder. Wanting just one more hour of uninterrupted alone time.

And not getting it.

Even after ushering both girls out the door and down the stairs, they were back less than a half hour later, one with an update on the condition of the kitten's eyes and the other just because she can't stand to be away from me for more than a half hour if she knows I'm in the house.

It went downhill fast.

I got up, frustrated. Unrested at all from the night's sleep. I got dressed and went downstairs, where I put away clean dishes. I folded laundry.

I was asked how I was this morning. I gave a look that basically said that all wasn't well.

It went downhill even further.

I cried. I said a few things I shouldn't have.

When I'm tired and overwhelmed, my body issues feel huge. I feel huge. I felt sorry for myself and I wanted to hash it out, share it. Supposedly misery shared is misery lessened, right?

Except...no. It only made others unhappy too.

In the end, I went up and showered and decided that I needed to go get my hair cut. I didn't get much cut off, but it had been over a year since I'd had so much as a trim so off we went.

Yes, we. I don't leave the house on the weekends alone. Tom did suggest the girls stay with him but they wouldn't have it.

By the time we got back, four hours later, things are better. I think.

We're friends again, so that's nice.

Things have been aired. Things that had gone unsaid for too long. The bright light of day tends to make things seem a little less dramatic than they do when one dwells on them in the dark of night. Getting them out takes away their strength.

I hope.

We'll see.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Cookie Kind of Day

If today had been a weekday, the girls probably would have had a school delay. Not a closure, the roads were cleared fairly easily this morning but surely a delay since we're in a very rural area and the buses have to go down a lot of country roads.

Since it's a Saturday, though, it started slow, with Olivia actually sleeping in until almost 7:00. I know!!

Then I laid around most of the morning, complaining about the cold. I found a small sliver of sun shining in the front window and positioned myself in front of it and when Tom found me there he covered me with two blankets. I finally roused myself when Olivia asked me to clip one of her toe nails. It was all ragged and driving her crazy.

Once I was up, I realized that actually moving around and keeping busy would keep me warmer than the weak January sun could.

Now it's time to bake cookies. It's just that kind of day. The weak sun is shining off the new fallen snow outside, the kitchen floor has been swept and the living room/family room carpets have been vacuumed.

And I've smiled at Tom more than I've scowled at hime today. (Though I have to admie that his commentary when I was cleaning up O's poopy pants deserved the multitude of scowls it got him.) I'm calling it good and getting on with the cookies.

I will probably even eat some of the cookie dough. It just seems like the thing to do.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Moments of Clarity

The first time I watched Forrest Gump, I found myself wondering which is worse, being just slightly slower than average or being so far from average that you don’t even realize that there is such a thing as average.

I remember that scene at the school where Forrest’s mother is talking to the principal, trying to convince him that five little points isn’t a good reason to keep her son out of school. Forrest was aware that he was ‘slow.’ He said to Jenny at one point, “I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is.”

Last weekend it hit me that Olivia is on the Forrest side of this spectrum. She’s just delayed enough to realize she’s delayed. And it breaks my heart even though I’m grateful that she does as well as she does.

At Alyssa’s birthday party all the kids were running from room to room. They were just racing through the house, being silly. Olivia was trailing behind them as the little sibling tends to do when confronted by a group of kids who are all about four years older than she is.

At one point, Olivia was knocked to the ground by one of Alyssa’s party guests. Olivia popped right back up, barely acknowledging the knock to the head she’d taken. She had a large red bump on the right side of her face by her eye and on the left side of her forehead. It was quite a hit she took.

About ten minutes later, I heard the kids storm up the stairs and saw Olivia standing in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs. She was leaning against the wall and looking so very, very lonely.

I went over and picked her up. I sat on the stairs and held her close, wanting to protect her from this, her first taste of being left behind. I asked her if she was okay.

She nodded but didn’t say anything. She wanted to be with the big kids. She wanted to be able to keep up.

It tears me up that at some point, she’s going to feel this way about her own peers, this emotional need to keep up but the physical inability to do so.

I know that I can’t stop that from happening. I only hope that she’ll let me be there to comfort her when it does.

She only stayed on my lap for about ten seconds before she hopped off and ran after the kids, determined to be in the middle of the action.

My girl is tough. She’s tenacious. If anyone can overcome the obstacles that 5p- has put in front of her, Olivia can. All I can do is continue to give her the tools to do just that. It just scares me that those ‘five little points’ are going to hold her back, keep her down and she’ll KNOW she’s being held back and left behind. I can only pray that I can continue to fight for her, find new avenues for her to explore if she’s left behind on the one she chooses first.

I’m rambling and probably not making any sense. I want what all parents want for their kids. I want my girls to be happy. I want them to fit in and make good, lasting friends. I want them to find things to do that they enjoy and they feel like they’re good at. And it pisses me off that 5p- might rob Olivia of any of that.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hair Today

I fretted over Olivia’s hair for almost three years. I think she was about two years old when she started pulling her hair out. When I realized what she was doing, it stressed me out to no end. I worried, I tried to tell her to stop, I researched the problem.

I think it was after about a year of pulling that I realized the pulling was connected to her thumb-sucking. At that point, I started researching how to stop your child from sucking their thumb. I was sure that if I could get that thumb out of her mouth, we’d get her left hand out of her hair.

But so many of the thumb-sucking ‘remedies’ came across as cruel to me. I wasn’t willing to put hot sauce on her thumb to get her to stop doing it. I couldn’t tie her hand to her waist in an effort to keep her thumb out of her mouth.

After the first couple of years of trying to get her to stop all this, I realized that I needed to stop trying to control this. I realized that it was going to be up to Olivia to stop sucking her thumb and pulling her hair. This came after TWICE cutting her hair down to a quarter of an inch long because I hoped if it was too short to pull, it would get her out of the habit. But each time, as soon as her hair was long enough, the pulling started up again.

I started praying for peace about this. I wanted to let go of the stress over her hair. I wanted to let go of the need to control this aspect of her life. I didn’t want it to be such a big deal.

Around October (or earlier?) this past year, I realized that I hadn’t seen O suck her thumb or pull her hair in months. It just hadn’t been happening. This was such a big deal because it had been so much on our minds for so long that for it to just stop was huge.

Here is a picture of Olivia on her first day of school back in August.

Here are a couple of pictures of her taken this morning.

Look at that hair. Beautiful, huh? I’m so proud of her for giving up the thumb and letting all that beautiful hair grow back. I know that she probably didn’t make a conscious decision to stop sucking her thumb and pulling her hair out but she still did stop those things and I think that’s pretty amazing. I know, it’s just hair but it’s her hair and I’m so glad she’s letting it grow back. She’s always wanted long hair and I’m so happy for her that she can have it. I’d worried there for a bit that she might not ever really be able to have the long hair she envied. But for now it’s growing and I’m enjoying every single day of growth right along with her.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I found out a few days ago that Olivia will not be eligible for preschool next fall. She misses the cut-off date, which means she’ll be too old.

Her preschool teacher told me this last Friday. I asked if there is any loophole we can find based on O’s medical diagnosis.

She said we can try.

Olivia is not ready for kindergarten. She’s made amazing progress this year but she’s not going to be ready for the heavy emphasis on academics come August. We’ll work with her until then, but I just have this feeling she needs one more year before being thrown into ‘real’ school.

We’re working on cutting with scissors and tracing. But we’re still in the early stages of these things. She hates tracing because it’s hard on her weak little hands.

She’s doing an amazing job with counting and colors and shapes but she doesn’t always recognize all her letters.

I plan to go to the next IEP meeting armed with questions about the arbitrariness of the cut-off. I want to know what we can do to make sure Olivia reaches her fullest potential. I don’t want to push her too fast too hard because she fights that. I want her comfortable in her school setting so that she’ll continue to work hard.

Kindergarten isn’t our only option for next year. If preschool doesn’t work, if there is no loophole, there is the kinderkids class, which is also half day. I want to research that one a little more before we make a final decision. I just don’t want the final decision to be based on some date that some administrator pulled out of their butt randomly. I want this decision to be the best one for Olivia. She deserves that at the very least.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Alyssa climbed onto my lap last night around 8:25. She’d been in the other room with her dad but had come to find me as it neared bedtime. I snuggled her close and kissed her hair.

She whispered, “Daddy hit me in the eye with the remote. He didn’t mean to, but it still hurt.”

I hugged her close and kissed her eye.

She said, “It was the other eye.”

I kissed the other eye and ran my finger along her jaw, a jaw that can be so stubbornly set at times but at that moment was relaxed and sleepy.

I held by big girl, knowing that these moments when she wants me to hold her tight, when she needs my physical presence won’t come often as she continues to grow and become more independent.

Nine is independent but still needy. Nine is friendly and yet aloof as she figures out her place among her peers.

Nine is cooperative at school but pulling at the reins at home, testing her boundaries, trying to fly even though she really knows she’s not ready.

Nine still loves Junie B. Jones books but is also branching out into Nancy Drew.

Nine still wears footie pajamas to bed but isn’t as against wearing jeans to school as seven and eight were.

Nine still lets me wash her hair but also locks the door to the bathroom for privacy.

Nine is awesome and frustrating and I’m so lucky to get to experience it with her.

Monday, January 16, 2012


As I tucked Alyssa into bed last night, I asked her to be patient with her dad. I told her that we have no idea what his childhood home was like and perhaps there were a lot of animals there and maybe he often felt like the animals were dirty. I told her we need to give him time to realize that one little kitten is going to be different from several cats or dogs or other bigger animals.

She snuggled beneath her covers and said, “I think Daddy is starting to like Orville better because he was outside petting him with me earlier.”

I told her I hope so. I really, really hope so.

Then I laid down and prayed again. I prayed that I figure out how to make this work in a way that still lets me be a good mother and a good wife. I want to make everyone happy. I realize that sometimes, that’s not possible. But I want to try.

This morning I got up around 3am to check on Orville. I was worried about him in the garage. I want to respect Tom’s wishes about the kitten not being inside but I also want to respect Orville’s rights as a living creature not to freeze to death. I want to be respectful and yet not cruel to that tiny kitten who didn’t do anything wrong except perhaps get adopted by an irresponsible woman.

Anyway, I went downstairs with the intention of peaking out at Orville, making sure he had his blankets on him in the carrier we’ve set up as his bed and I found Tom. He was as the garage door, checking on Orville himself. Orville had climbed up Tom’s leg and was snuggled in against T’s chest.

I do believe we’re making progress.

Tom gave me an almost embarrassed grin and said, “I was just checking on him.”

I nodded. “Me to,” I whispered back.

Now, I am not deluding myself into believing that Orville will be nestled all snug in Alyssa’s bed with her anytime soon, but I’m absolutely counting this morning’s observation as progress. Tom’s not an ogre. He wants cleanliness and order but he’s also loving and kind and this was absolutely progress.

And progress is very, very sweet.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's All My Fault

Back in October I asked Tom if he'd be willing to set aside his distaste of having pets and consider getting Alyssa a cat for her birthday.

Alyssa is an animal lover. She adores them. All of them. She wishes we lived on a large enough piece of property that we could have a horse. She desperately wants a dog. A kitten was the best I could do. I knew she would be thrilled to have a pet that was actually, truly hers.

He said okay, as long as it was understood that any pet we got would stay in the garage or outside.

I thought given time, he'd come around.

Well, he hasn't. He does not want that kitten in the house.

He's given in to the point that Orville is allowed to come in and play on the uncarpeted floor right inside the garage door. He can also be carried to the half-bath where Alyssa plays with him with the door closed.

For the past three days, no one has been happy. Well, wait. Olivia is happy because she can't quite sense the tension.

But Tom's miserable because there is a cat in the vicinity. Alyssa's sad because her pet, her birthday present isn't allowed to come in and sit on her lap while she watches tv.

And I'm sad because I shouldn't have pushed this. I shouldn't have asked Tom to do something I knew he didn't want to do. I shouldn't have put Alyssa in this position to feel like she's being denied something.

Last night I prayed hard. I prayed for a change of heart for Tom, that he can overcome his own disgust at the idea of a house pet. I also prayed that I can be a better mother and a better wife. I really do feel awful for putting them both in this position.

I also feel bad for that little kittne who is forced to stay in the cold garage. Yes, he has a carrier with several blankets and he has a girl who goes out there quite often and brings him just inside the door. But this isn't what I wanted for any of us.

I wanted to make a little girl happy, to give a shelter cat a home. I never imagined that we'd all be so unhappy with this siutation. And now I have to figure out how to get us out of it since I'm the one who created it.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I don't usually post recipes. I'm not much of a cook so I don't bother to tell people how to make mediocre dinners or less than spectacular appetizers.

But today I have a recipe I want to share. It's a recipe for a nine year old's birthday party. A sure-fire way to ensure that everyone will have a good time.

You will need:
25 sheets of computer paper for homemade invitations
3 frozen pizzas, any brand: 1 plain cheese, 1 pepperoni and 1 sausage
1 white cake mix and required ingredients
1/2 tsp of blue food coloring
3 cans of black olives
2 jars of baby dill pickles
1 package string cheese
1 batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies
2 bottles of Hawaiian Punch, any flavor
1 brand new kitten
20 $1 toys/crafts picked up at JoAnn Fabrics on the clearance aisle

About two weeks before the appointed date, send homemade invitations to the birthday girl's classroom. Make sure there are enough for everyone in the class. You (I) don't want to single anyone out as not invited. Be sure to put on the invitation that parents are welcome to stay or drop off/pick up as necessary.

Ask for RSVPs but don't expect any.

Plan for several non-RSVPers to show up anyway.

Don't plan any games but do have the $1 toys/crafts laying on a bench near the front door.

As the kids arrive, have the birthday girl give them a tour, letting them know that any door that is closed in the house means that room is off-limits.

About ten minutes after the appointed start of the party, let the kids run free, telling them you'll call them when it's time to blow out candles.

Give the kids the run of the house, letting them decide what to do and when.

Don't supervise them too closely, they're fine. Really.

While the kids run wild visit with the couple of parents who chose to stay. Eat the food the kids don't even touch. Don't be offended when the kids only eat the olives, cheese and pickles. They're kids. It's up to their own parents to make sure they eat a balanced dinner when they get home.

When the parents arrive, let each child choose at least three of the prizes by the door. It's easy, only five of the classmats showed up, four more than the one that RSVP'd.

Thank the parents who dropped off and the ones who stayed.

Hug your birthday girl and ask her if she had a good time. Try not to cry when she says this was the best day ever and that the only way it could have been better is if her daddy liked her new kitten.

Friday, January 13, 2012


I took a vacation day from work today so that I could have lunch with Alyssa and then take cupcakes to her class for her birthday. I know that the number of times she's actually going to want me to come to lunch with her at school or bring cupcakes for her birthday are limited. So I want to do this stuff while I still can.

When school let out, I picked her up and told her I was taking her somewhere that was a surprise.

She tried to guess as we drove the twelve miles from the school to the animal shelter. But she never figured it out.

When we pulled into the driveway, she read the sign. "Humane Society?" There was a question in her voice.

I told her, "We can't look at the dogs but I'm hoping you'll find a kitty you'd like to take home."

The way her face lit up...oh you guys, it was beautiful. The surprise, the joy.

She held every cat in that shelter and finally went back to the first one she held. He's a little black, long haired kitten who is about three months old. The shelter employees had named him Orville.

Alyssa has decided to keep his name Orville. She adores him. Though just before we put him in his room for the night, she announced, "Kittens are a lot of work."

Oh Sweetie, welcome to the world of responsibilities. It only gets harder from here. But it also gets better.

Nine is going to be awesome!

Pictures of Orville and Alyssa's party coming soon.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Polite Smile

I had a whole post written, going on and on about wah wah wah, woe is me, I’m in a funk, why can’t I get out of it?

But you know what? Big freaking deal. So I’m tired. A million other people are tired too. So I want fifteen minutes to myself first thing in the morning? We don’t always get what we want, as Mick would say. But if we try sometimes we just might find we get what we need.

And I need to snap out of it.

Sometimes, things feel heavier than they actually are. Sometimes, we don’t want to go about our daily lives but we have to. We suck it up, we put on a polite smile and we fake it.

I have a birthday party to throw on Saturday and damn it, it’s going to be a blast.

We’re adopting a cat tomorrow and Alyssa’s going to be out of her mind with joy.

There are so many good things going on right now that just because by the end of the day I want to throw myself face-down on the couch and fall asleep it doesn’t take away from the good.

Maybe it’s the monotony but even that isn’t so bad. I like routine, I like knowing what’s coming next. So here’s to Alyssa turning nine, to her getting a kitten for her birthday and to Olivia continuing to pee in the potty like a big girl.

There are so many good things and I want to bask in them all instead of wallowing in something I can’t even define. So there. That’s that.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Musings of an Introvert

I think part of my problem is that I am never alone. Not really, truly alone. And being alone, for me, is energizing. It gives me the strength to get through the days. Quite honestly, just a little bit of alone time (for the record, driving home does NOT count, I hate driving, even if I’m alone while I’m doing it) gives me energy for weeks even months. But lately I don’t get enough to get me through these days.

My husband is an extrovert, he loves people. He gets his energy from going to auctions and being surrounded by people and haggling over prices and that sort of thing would make me crazy.

I realize that it might seem weird that a self-proclaimed introvert would be an over-sharer such as I am here on this blog but let’s remember, I don’t actually have to see any of you. I don’t have to talk to you face to face (or even on the phone.) I can write my thoughts here and then come back later to see if anyone responded. And imagine my joy when someone does. Wheee!! We’re communicating and yet I didn’t actually have to see you. I love that.

And that makes me sort of sad that I get such a thrill out of something that allows me to limit my face time with actual people.

Yet my family and my job (ironically, I’m in HR of all things) give me plenty of face time. So much, in fact, that I long for an hour or seven to myself. Just to wander around the house without someone wandering so closely behind me that if I stop, she slams into my butt. (I won’t name names but hers starts with an O and ends with livia.)

I adore my children. I love them with all that I am. And I want to be the best mother I can be to them, which means I need my time and space to myself, even just fifteen minutes each evening after they’re asleep, when I can play Castleville on Facebook or read a trashy novel. Or yes, even take a hot bath without someone sitting beside the tub using my water at a play ground for her horses. Again, I won’t name names but this one’s name starts with an A and ends with lyssa.

I’m not always a grouchy bitch, mind you. This morning, in fact, I was quite pleasant during our morning routine. Of course, it helps that I managed to slip out of bed without waking Olivia and was actually in the shower when she woke up, which means I got my fifteen minutes of alone time first thing this morning. Oh my goodness, you can’t imagine how much better this morning went because of that. Or maybe you can. But my mood was so, so much better just because I didn’t have someone asking me, “Carry me?” the instant I rolled out of bed with my aching back and my groggy eyes. Instead, I’d already washed the grog out of my eyes and the ache out of my back before she wandered into the bathroom. It was lovely to be able to be pleasant and loving to her instead of bleary-eyed and grouchy.

Obviously, I need to schedule some alone time into my days. I can’t count on every morning being like the one we had this morning. So I need to figure out when I can be alone, recharge so that I can be the mother I want to be, the mother and wife I can be when I have given enough back to myself that I have something to give to all of them.

On a much lighter note, one thing that made me laugh yesterday even with the grouchiness and the lack of alone time first thing yesterday morning was that O missed the bus yesterday and what was supposed to be Daddy driving her to school, even if late ended up being an absence from school. The reason for said absence? Poop.

Let me explain. It wasn’t due to a poopy mess. No. It was because about five minutes before the bus was due to arrive she announced she needed to poop. What’s a mom to do? I put her on the toilet, handed her a magazine and told Tom that he probably be taking her to school because, hello, she doesn’t always go right away even with all the right equipment (see: magazine above) at hand.

I walked Alyssa to the bus seven minutes later and O was still sitting on the toilet.

On my way to work, Tom called me and suggested I call the school and let her teacher know O would be late.

I had been at work for forty-five minutes when Tom called again and asked me how long he should let her sit there.

I asked, “She’s still trying to poop!?!”

Yes, she was still sitting on the toilet! Poor kid. I told him to put a Pull Up on her and let her run around. That usually does the trick. He then suggested I call the school and let them know she wouldn’t be there. I asked what I was supposed to give as the reason for her absence. He suggested, “Poop.”

Poor baby never did poop but she sure did enjoy that morning off school. She followed her dad around with her little piano, serenading him with the attached microphone while he packed items that he was shipping out.

So there you have it. Alone time and absences due to poop sort of make my day. Huh… the little things really can make my mood better. I need to remember that the next time (five minutes from now?) I’m in a funk.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Seasonal Blahs?

I’ve been…out of sorts lately. Just kind of blah. Is it the weather? Probably not, because we’ve had unseasonably warm weather around here, with lovely, if diluted sunshine.

Maybe it’s the inevitable letdown that comes after the holidays are over and we’re facing three months of five day work weeks and the monotony that comes with that.

The sleep thing is actually better. Alyssa flipping loves her room and her bed and being all grown up and independent. I love that she loves it.

Olivia still comes from her room to mine around midnight each night, asking me softly if I can take off her gross Pull Up and put a clean on one her.

I stumble around looking for a dry one to put on her and then pull her into my bed, loathe to take her down the hall and attempt to get her back to sleep in her own bed only to have to walk back to my own an hour later, after having fallen asleep in her bed with her. I know. But I’ve said before that I’m lazy. I want the easiest solution that will bring me the most rest, especially at midnight, a mere six hours before I have to get up and start the day all over again.

Exercise would probably help but I hate exercise. I realize that if I found something I actually enjoy, it wouldn’t feel so much like work but…that hasn’t happened in the last 41 years (okay, 20 years, let’s just count my adult years rather than my childhood, during which playing on the tire swing didn’t feel like work.)

The thing is, I want to want to exercise. I want to find something I enjoy, something that doesn’t feel like I’m being punished for being fat. I know that’s so stupid, to feel like exercise is punishment but it does.

On the bright side (and a totally different subject) I’ve been enjoying taking part in my resolution to read to Olivia more. We’re ten days in to this new year and we’ve read three books a night on seven of the previous nine days. I’m calling that a good start to the new year. She loves it. She’s come to know that when 7pm rolls around, it’s time to find pajamas, brush our teeth and settle in to read. This girl does so appreciate a routine.

So success there makes me happy. It’s also benefitting Alyssa because at 7pm each evening, we turn off the television and read. She can either sit with me and O and listen to the books I’m reading or she can sit and read her own books. It’s been about half and half so far. I love that she loves to read too.

But the schedule, sometimes, feels overwhelming, like there is just one more thing to be done before the day is over. I hope that doesn’t come through when we do sit down to read because I do enjoy it. I love sitting there with her either beside me or on my lap, reading and talking about the story and seeing her delight when something unexpected happens in the book.

This morning while in the shower, I listened to the girls bicker in the tub. And in my head, I knew I was in a horrible mood. I knew I had no reason to be in such a bad mood and I thought to myself, “Do not take your mood out on those girls.”

And then? I growled at them, “If you two can’t get along, just get out of the tub now!”

See, I don’t even listen to the mild-mannered voice in my head. Logically, I know the mood won’t last and yet, I headed downstairs with a scowl on my face and went about packing A’s lunch without talking much. I hate that I get that way. I hate that my entire family is waiting to see how Mom is going to react to something, as if they’re waiting for me to either get over my stupid self or to blow up and lose my mind once and for all.

They deserve better. No. Wait. They deserve a better me. They deserve me at my best, whatever that is.

This day has gotten better. I almost ended this post with a little tale about why Olivia missed school today but that was such a 180 degree turn around from the way this post started that it felt forced. That one, the funny story, will have to wait until tomorrow, when I hope the mood is good from the start.

Monday, January 9, 2012


I had to call my OB-GYN today to schedule an appointment.

The receptionist was very nice. But she also pointed out that my annual exam last year took place on February 23 and so the doctor won’t want to do another exam until then or later.

But, I explained, the reason I was calling today was to schedule an IUD removal/replacement. Because, duh, I’m 41 and we’re DONE having babies. Can you even imagine how much more frazzled I’d be with a third tiny person in our house needing something from me?

The thought makes me feel faint.

She hemmed and hawed and I suggested gently that perhaps I could just schedule two appointments, one for the IUD stuff and one, later, for the annual stuff.

Huh, she said. Good idea.

You think?

Then she suggested that I fax her a copy of the front and back of my insurance card so they can make sure the IUD replacement is covered.

And I wonder…why the hell wouldn’t it be? Wouldn’t the cost of a 5 year IUD (which has to be under $500) be worth it to almost any insurance company to prevent a pregnancy, which would absolutely, even in the most perfect circumstances, cost more than $500?

I can’t even imagine that it won’t be covered but I think that if it isn’t, there is something wrong with the way insurance companies work.

But then, without getting political, we already know there is something wrong with health care and insurance companies, etc in this country, don’t we?

Sunday, January 8, 2012


So, project: Sleep in Your Own Bed went...okay. Okay as in, one of the girls actually slept in her bed in her own room last night and the other...did not.

Care to guess which was which?

Okay, so Alyssa did really, really well. I took her to bed at 9:00 last night, she climbed into her bed, I kissed her goodnight, went and changed into my pajamas, brought my book back to her room and sat by the nightlight as she fell asleep.

I know, this is probably indulgent of me. But you know what? I don't apologize for that. She maybe be turning nine is six days but she's spent the last almost nine years sleeping next to me either in the same bed or three feet away. This was a big deal. And again, I don't apologize for the fact that we're a co-sleeping family. It's worked for us. To a point.

Yes, I've bitched and moaned about my own lack of sleep but...we're getting there.

But to expect a child who has had her mother right next to her for nearly a decade to go to sleep in a room all by herself, to me, felt unfair.

So there you have it.

But Olivia? She felt asleep as she always does on my lap, and so I carried her to bed when I took Alyssa up to tuck her in.

O stayed in her bed for about two hours before I heard the quick pitter patter of little feet making their way down the hall. I went up and took her back to her bed and laid with her for about ten minutes then made my way to my own bed.

She made it another hour or so before coming back to my room. This time, I pulled her into bed with me and we went to sleep.

She tried and so did I. I'm calling it a decent effort and giving myself a break. I like having my girls near me. I also know that A is ready to be in her room in her bed. And I'm proud of her for that.

I know too, that O isn't quite as ready. And I'm okay with that.

One step at a time.

But because she was such a big girl last night? Alyssa gets to go to a movie with Gram and Pawp. She's ever so excited.

Thankfully, O doesn't feel like the fact that she's not going is a punishment, because it's not. It's just that Alyssa deserves a little extra special treat for being such a big kid.

I'm learning, after almost nine years, to stop apologizing for the way I parent. If I trust myself, I'm so much better off than when I second guess myself and when I try to do what I think others would do in my place. Those 'others' aren't here, they're not parenting my kids. I am, and I want to be more present, more real. More me, if you will.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Once Upon a Mattress

Ever since we moved into this house, we've had a set of bunkbeds in the girls' room. But the girls have never slept in their own room.

Why? Because until last night there were no mattresses on the bunks.

We have a queen bed and a twin bed set up in the master bedroom. We've slept in there for the past, oh, seventeen months.

During the first five months, I actually liked having the girls in the room with me. Since Tom wasn't up here full time until January of last year, I didn't like the idea of them down the hall.

I know, over protective much?

But whatever.

Then...it's taken us this long just to get around and get actual mattresses. I know, lazy much?

But they're here and they're on the beds and they have sheets and blankets and guess what? The girls are thrilled to bits over their 'new' beds.

I made the beds last night while thye were at Gram's for the night. When they got home today, I told them I made a few changes to their room and they needed to go up there and see.

Ohh, the cuteness! Alyssa squealed with glee as she climbed in to the top bunk and Olivia grinned in happiness as she snuggled beneath her red sheet and blanket.

And the girls are right. Their 'new' beds are so pretty. A's is all done up in her signature blue and O's, the bottom bunk, is red.

I love having their room done.

Now...we'll see how long O actually stays in her own bed tonight.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Party Planning

When I was, oh, about fifteen years old, I told my mom that I never, ever wanted to host a party at a house of my own.

My mom looked bewildered and asked why I would say such a thing.

I lamented that I wouldn’t know what to serve for food and drinks, I wouldn’t know what to do to keep people entertained, I’d just be overwhelmed by the sheer responsibility of being the host that I would lose my mind.

My mom smiled and assured me that by the time I reached adulthood, hosting a party wouldn’t seem like such a big deal.

Alyssa is turning nine next Saturday. We sent invitations to her class on Wednesday for a party. Yes, her entire class.

I felt bad last year when we sent all of six invitation to school for a skating party. Skating is expensive, you see. But having people come to your own house? That’s not so expensive at all.

So that’s what we did.

I assured Tom that not everyone will come, so he can stop hyperventilating about the prospect of 23 third graders converging on our home.

But you know what? My mom was right. This isn’t that big a deal.

There will be cake, there will be punch. We’ll have other salty and sweet snack offerings as well as hotdogs and cheese for the protein lovers out there. (There is protein in hotdogs, right?)

We’ll have a movie playing on one of the televisions and I’ll have a few games planned. There will be prizes.

The three hours we’ve set aside for the party will fly by.

And if they don’t? Well, it’s one afternoon. It’ll be fun no matter what.

And the most important thing? Alyssa’s so very, very excited.

I do so dig being the mom.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

So Mean

She muttered that as she huddled in a sulky corner of the car last night on the three mile drive from my mom’s house to home.

See, I’d made Alyssa put her pants back on and then pack up her crap so we could go home.

When I get to my mom’s house at 5:00 each evening, it is understood that Alyssa will be allowed to watch the 5pm episode of Wild Kratts on PBS while my mom and I catch up. Then, when Wild Kratts is over at 5:30, we go home.

Last night, though, when Wild Kratts ended, Saddle Club started and Alyssa decided that since I hadn’t made the move to leave, she’d get to stick around and watch the show.

Let me take a moment to point out that these shows are on PBS. We happen to get PBS as well as my mom does. It’s not like they were one some cable channel that we don’t get (we don’t have cable, how’s that for mean?)

When I saw that she’d taken off her pants so she could run around like a horse, I told her to put her pants back on because we were leaving.

She whined that she was watching Saddle Club.

I reminded her that if she got ready fast enough, she’d only miss a few minutes of it as we made our way home.

She fought me for fifteen minutes, finally stomping around my mom’s house like a three year old who was throwing a tantrum.

Once I managed to get Olivia and Alyssa and Alyssa’s pissy little attitude in the car, I was done with the fussing. I told her I was sorry she felt like I was being unfair but that this was our routine and I just wanted to get home.

She hissed, “You’re mean!”

And usually, I just shrug that sort of thing with a laugh and tell her that it’s okay that she thinks so because it means I’m doing my job. But last night? It made me angry. It also hurt my feelings because I feel like I usually bend over backward to make sure this kid is happy.

And there, that right there? Is probably the problem. She’s used to getting her way. She’s used to me giving in because I usually don’t care enough to fight her.

But she’s nine years old (will be next in nine days, anyway) and she needs to realize that the world isn’t going to always give her her way.

I don’t want to raise a child who grows into an adult with a sense of entitlement. I want her to know that hard work and perseverance can go a long way toward getting her what she wants but the world in no ways OWES her anything.

My step daughter believes the world owes her an easy life. I have a cousin who believes the world owes him a good life because he feels he had a shitty childhood. Well, you know what? A lot of people have shitty childhoods and they don’t think they’re owed anything because of it. They pull themselves up and make something of their lives through hard work.

And while I don’t want Alyssa to struggle, I’m coming to realize that if I love her (which I do, to the depths of my soul) I need to tell her no more often. I need her to realize that I’m not being mean when I make her pick up after herself or when I don’t let her have exactly what she wants for dinner or when I make her turn off the television because she’s already watched too damned much tv for one day, thank you very much.

It’s time to start parenting this child. She needs it from me, whether she knows it or not. And yes, whether she likes it or not. Someday, she’ll thank me for not letting her turn into a spoiled brat. I hope. But if not? Well, sometimes, even the best of parents aren’t appreciated but that’s okay too. I’ll take comfort in knowing I did the best I could.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Getting Past the Stubborn

So all this angst about how Olivia will do at school without a Pull-Up is brought the real issue to the forefront.

What I really worry about is her communication.

See, she can talk. She really, truly can. And at home, she does. She talks to us all the time. She tells us what she wants, she shows us what she needs, she talks to us. Sometime, we wish she’d be quiet for five minutes so we can get in a word or four.

But at school, she doesn’t. She doesn’t talk, she won’t communicate in any meaningful way.

And that’s the problem. How can her teachers and therapists evaluate her if she won’t show them what she can do?

I think she’s much further along in most areas than they do.

This is not denial. I know, I know. A person who is in denial isn’t going to know they’re in denial.


I don’t deny that O has communication problems. But they’re not so much 5p- related as they’re shyness and stubbornness related. She doesn’t want to talk to her teachers and therapist and so…she doesn’t.

She doesn’t care about ‘rules.’ She doesn’t care that she’s supposed to talk to them. She doesn’t want to. She’s shy and she’s stubborn.

Alyssa is painfully shy but she’s also very much a rule-follower and so when she discovered that one of the rules for being in school is that you talk to your teacher if your teacher asks you a direct question, she talked. It’s just how she is.

Olivia? Thinks rules suck and so just doesn’t follow them if she doesn’t want to.

And there is the problem.

If she won’t talk to her teachers, how will they ever know how well she’s doing? How can they test her if she won’t show them what she knows?

I think this potty thing is actually turning out to be a great thing, because she so desperately wants to be a big girl. And part of being a big girl is going pee in the potty. And part of peeing in the potty while at school is TALKING to her teachers to let them know she needs to pee.

So it’s a step in the right direction.

I keep thinking that when my next meeting with her teacher rolls around, I need to talk to them about how we’re going to get O to WANT to show them what she can do. How can we get her to want to talk to them? How can we show the therapist how well she can actually do on the playground? Her PT thinks that she can’t jump two-footed off a six in curb because O won’t do it for her.

Damn it! She CAN do just that kind of thing. She just won’t do it for this woman that she’s known for about four months. For me? She’d jump all day long.

Do I suggest that I take her out to the playground and have them sneak around and spy on us playing so the PT can see what O can do?

But what is the good in that? She needs to be willing to do these things for the PT as well as she’ll do them for me. But again, that shyness and that stubbornness (she must get that one from Tom!) kicks in and she fights it. She wants what she wants and not what others want from her.

It’s frustrating.

But at this point, I’m still leaning toward another year of preschool. Even if she can do the things her teachers don’t think she can do, isn’t a big part of kindergarten based on communication? And if she won’t communicate, doesn’t that put us right back at the point where we’d be if she COULDN’T communicate with them? Is there really a big difference between can’t and won’t? Except that with won’t, if we can break through her stubbornness, we are leaps ahead of the can’t stage, right?

We’ll continue to praise her amazing pottying skills and reinforce how proud we are of her for telling her teachers when she has to go. Maybe all that positive reinforcement will make her want to communicate about other things too. It could happen. Though…yes, she is, indeed more stubborn than I am.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Okay, so...I don't want to jinx her, but here goes...

Olivia went to school today without a safety net, if you will. She didn't wear a pull-up. Instead, we sent her like most typical five year olds go dressed for school.

She was wearing regular old underwear under her clothes.

And she was fine! She didn't have an accident. She told her teacher(s) each time she needed to go to the bathroom.

That's my big girl! We've been talking up this whole 'talk to your teacher' thing for the last two weeks. I knew it wasn't so much the actual act of going to the bathroom that was going to be the problem for O at school.

It is the talking, the communicating. She doesn't like to do it with anyone who isn't me or Gram or Daddy.

But I used the 'big girl' card on her. I reminded her that she's a big girl now, and as a big girl, she doesn't pee in her panties anymore. And since she'd be at school, she needed to actually talk to her teachers and let them know when she needed to use the bathroom.

And it worked. At least today it worked. Tomorrow is another day and I'll continue to talk to her about it, to work with her, to remind her that she needs to talk to her teachers, she needs to show them what she can do.

But today? Was a success! Yay Livie!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 2 = Fail

Okay, so It's 8:16 and I'm trying to wrangle the girls into bed because we all have to go back to school and work tomorrow. The morning is going to come much fast than any of us like.

And...that resolution to read to Olivia? So far, so not good. We're on January 2 and it's a big fail. But I'm not giving up, tomorrow is a new day and it will be better. We'll be back to our routine and will be better able to put something new and very important into it.

But for now? We're tired but wired and so bedtime is turning into a struggle. Alyssa seems to think that if she keeps eating, I won't make her go to bed. Poor kid, she's so very, very wrong.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

I started the new year just the way I like. I slept in this morning while the girls slipped down to spend an hour or so with Tom. When I made my way down the stairs at 9:20, I found them all snuggled on the couch, watching John Cusack's 2012 movie. Nice way to start the year, huh?

Olivia climbed into my lap and asked, "Are you done sleeping?"

I smiled and said, "Yes, for today, I'm done sleeping." The girl is learning how much her mama really does like to sleep. Poor kid.

We ate a late breakfast of eggs, toast and bacon. I had to bribe Alyssa to get her to eat all of her ONE egg. I told her if she finished her egg, she could have the last strip of bacon. It worked.

Olivia, of couse, ate the equivalent of three eggs. It's just the way she rolls.

Sine breakfast was late, we had a late lunch too. At which time, I made Olivia put on some underwear since we were all eating at the table. Ahem.

Alyssa joined us at the table in her footie pajamas. She asked me if she had to get dressed today.

I told her that no one had to change out of their pajamas if they didn't want to. We decided that is going to be one of our new year's traditions. No getting dressed if we don't wanna.

She didn't wanna.

Of course, I od think she should brush her hair. When one has hair that is over two feet long it tends to get tangled pretty quickly. She's still resisting at this point and it's almost 4:30 in the afternoon. So we'll see.

Tomorrow, I'll be fighting the dredlocks that have formed. Ugh!

We like days like this. Days when we don't have anywhere to go, days when there is no schedule.

We've taken down the Christmas tree and put away all the decorations. It will all go back up the day after Thanksgiving. Olivia asked me why I was putting everything away. I told her it was so we could look forward to getting it all out again in November. She smiled and went about her naked business.

It really is amazing how much bigger the house looks once we take down the tree. It's like we've gained six feet of space that we forget is there throughout the rest of the year.

I'm watching the snow come down and glad once again that I don't have to go anywhere. But I do need to get back to cleaning up this house. With the Christmas decorations put away, the other clutter is that much more obvious.

But hey, at least I'm starting out the year being productive. It balances my sleeping in until 9:30. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Happy 2012 to all!